CESA Heavy Equipment Forum 2016: footprint, flexibility, FOH – and a post-Brexit boom?

The 2016 CESA Heavy Equipment Forum, Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire, October 4th

According to catering equipment manufacturers and distributors, there’s been a mini boom in business, post-Brexit. After an initial pause, as the market came to terms with the referendum, business has been buoyant with a healthy number of schemes in the pipeline.

“The leisure industry is holding up well,” was the consensus at the 2016 CESA Heavy Equipment Forum, held at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire, on October 4th. The Forum is the chance for distributors and catering equipment specifiers to talk to fifteen leading equipment manufacturers and get hands-on experience of many new products. Clare Mansfield of Global FSE was a first-time delegate, “It’s been really informative, especially with all the new products,” she said.

As for Brexit, after initial fears, UK manufacturers are seeing some positives. “A chance to win the hearts and minds of UK distributors and customers,” was Lincat’s Chris Jones’ opinion. According to Richard Brown of Glen Dimplex, “Made in Britain is going to be massive.”

Overseas suppliers and manufacturers were equally positive about post-Brexit Britain. “There’s been no downside,” according to Justin Adams of Hoshizaki Gram. And while many overseas and UK manufacturers’ prices are going up, Rational announced several of its gas appliances were coming down in price.

Brexit was just one of many talking points. Other Forum trending topics included:

  • Footprint: the pressure on kitchen space continues, as operators go for smaller venues and try to pack in more customers. Several manufacturers showed slimline products.
  • Flexibility: operators want multifunctional equipment that’s easy to operate, produces great results and won’t stand idle, taking up valuable kitchen space.    
  • Front of house: fridges in different colours, stylish cooking appliances, designer coldrooms: theatre-style kitchens that put equipment right in front of the customer continue to be big business.
  • Customisation: as operator demands and requirements become ever more specific, manufacturers are developing products with built-in adaptability, which can be tailored to suit the site and operation.
  • Cocktails: there’s been a steady increase in demand for products in this area, especially ice – bigger machines, producing more ice. Often the ice of choice is nugget.
  • Energy Labelling and Eco -design: customer interest in energy saving is growing, albeit slowly. Refrigeration suppliers reported that there had been lots of discussion of the new regulations which resulted in a Minimum Energy Performance Standard for professional cabinets following the introduction of Energy Labelling and the Ecodesign Directive in July.

Heavy Equipment Forum Awards

At the gala dinner held in the evening of October 4th three major awards were announced. Fatboys Catering Equipment scooped Distributor of the Year, which is voted for by suppliers at the Forum. David Pyne, Fatboys’ national sales manager, was on hand to accept the award. Brian Honeyford, purchasing manager of Brakes Catering Equipment, accepted the Sales Initiative of the Year, for the company’s new demonstration kitchen in Covent Garden. The Heavy Equipment Sales Award, which recognises a person or team who has developed business and sales through
meeting customer needs, was won by Direct Kitchen Equipment, represented by Summit Mediratta.

Presenting the winners with their champagne, trophy and prizes, CESA director Keith Warren said: “These awards recognise and reward professionalism in heavy equipment distribution. Tonight’s winners exemplify the high standards that the industry has set itself.”

Heavy Equipment Forum 2016 Product Review

BGL Rieber

Rieber showed a small and diverse selection from the company’s huge range. Highlights included the new Thermoport 1000k, a plastic food transport box container that can handle temperatures up to 140°C. There’s also a new stainless steel, dual function Thermoport with heated and chilled sections. The countertop Thermomat cook and hold oven on show is ideal for slow cooking and is only 800 watts. Meanwhile the latest Rieber ACS/Varithek front of house vented cooking system, which needs no overhead extraction, is a dual-purpose pasta boiler and fryer unit.  


This first-time exhibitor at the Forum is building up its profile in the foodservice market, having been “the best kept secret in the industry.” Duke hot holding units are manufactured in the USA and are used by some of the world’s biggest foodservice brands. New products include the IRHS (infrared heat sink) which combines a heat sink and with overhead infrared heat; and the Flex Tech, which uses precise humidity control to extend holding times to the maximum.


Another Forum first timer, EuroCave showed its new 6000 Series of wine storage cabinets. These ultra-customisable units have been developed for the commercial market and built to withstand the busiest conditions. There’s a choice of door, shelving and lighting and there are multi-temperature versions, too. The Dual Zone version holds up to 60 bottles of white wine and 110 red. EuroCave also showed its ‘fine-wine-by-the-glass’ solutions, including the Wine Bar units, which use a vacuum system to keep wine fresh in the bottle for up to ten days.

Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances

The Burco brand is renowned for its range of manual and autofill water boilers, with the latest versions including built-in filtration. The company promised further developments in this line shortly.  Sister brand Lec’s biggest sellers are bottle coolers, and at the show the company also highlighted its new Platinum range of refrigeration counters, prep stations and cabinets.  Glen Dimplex is very much about “quality products at an affordable price”, with most carrying a two-year warranty for peace of mind.  

Hoshizaki Gram

Gram’s Compact products have been the backbone of its business for many years and are easily its most popular sellers. For the customer, a major selling point is the five year parts and labour warranty. Typical is the Compact 310 which is 132.5cm high and is popular with care homes, where a microwave is often put on top. Hoshizaki IM icemakers use hydrocarbon refrigerants which give multiple benefits, including 20% energy saving. The ice is clear, hard and long-lasting.

Grande Cuisine

New from French induction specialist Adventys is a countertop unit with two 3kW cooking zones. It’s available in two styles – with the zones side by side or front and back. Also on show was the Adventys induction plancha, which heats to 250°C in just four minutes. From another Grande Cuisine brand, Capic, comes the Ecoflam gas burner which automatically turns on when a pan is put on it, and automatically turns off when it’s removed. It saves up to 30% on gas consumption.


Lincat is famous for its water boilers and showed a new product, the EB3FX, which features a touchscreen. One of its highlight features is the predictive ecomode, whereby it learns from usage, automatically switching to ecomode when it’s quiet, but ensuring there’s plenty of hot water when it’s busy. The high capacity filter will process up to 5,678 litres of water – compared to just 3,000 with the previous model.   Also new is the Opus 800, a modular range of heavy duty prime cooking equipment designed to combine energy efficiency, high output and a small footprint.

Mobile UK

Another first timer at the Forum, Mobile UK manufactures specialist items for foodservice, such as plate dispensers and soup kettles – most of which are supplied to other manufacturers, who install them in their own counters, trolleys and so on. The company used the Forum to try out a new concept – the Liqui-Dispose, designed for liquid residues, such as coffee dregs, and featuring an attractive format suited to high-end operators. On seeing it one delegate commented, “I can start specifying that right now!”

Precision Refrigeration

One issue with refrigeration is trying to get the user to clean the condenser unit – so Precision has a condenser protection system that sounds an alarm if the unit needs cleaning. The company showed the latest version of its dual temperature refrigerated drawer, which switches from a fridge to a freezer at the touch of a button and is ideal for kitchens where freezer and chilled storage ratios change, for example due to seasonal menu variations. Precision also highlighted its compact, undercounter blast chiller.


Many delegates were seeing the new baby Rational, the SelfCookingCenter XS, for the very first time. Being 60% smaller than the 61 model, it opens up new opportunities for kitchens with limited space to have a Rational combi steamer. It offers all the features of its bigger siblings, including precise temperature and humidity controls, a self-cleaning programme and ease of use. Two new features, which are on all new Rational products, are triple-glazed doors and a new door gasket that lasts 2.5 times longer than the previous version.

RH Hall

The company launched its new 180 page catalogue, which has over 10,000 product listings. New products included the Maestrowave Combi Chef 7, which combines microwave, convection and grill cooking in one unit and has up to 99 programmes – a video showing its benefits is available at www.rhhall.com; and the ALFA140UK convection oven from Smeg, which accommodates 1/1 GN or 400 x 600mm shelves. RH Hall also announced a free online designer tool from Simply Stainless, the modular fabrication system. The online tool makes it easy to design kitchens and offers 3D renders and walk-throughs.


From the company that invented the food processor comes the Robot Cook, a commercial cooking cutter blender.  Accurate to 1°C, it’s programmable and can cook and hold, too.  The company also showed its new RM 8 planetary mixer, capable of processing a 4 kilo batch of dough.  Specialising in food prep, Robot-Coupe offers over 130 products across nine different categories.  It has the market’s biggest range of stick blenders, including the new MicroMix, which “produces a perfect emulsion in seconds.” 

Synergy Grill

The British manufacturer is the first in the world to offer a char grill featuring hot surface ignition with flame rectification, which replaces traditional ignition systems and thermocouples. Amongst the Synergy Grill’s benefits are energy saving – the company estimates it will save the average user £10,000 over five years. Its design means the exterior stays cool – “so it cooks food, not chefs!” Because fat is atomised, it turns to dust, so to clean the grill all staff have to do is vacuum it – and there’s no need to worry about creating ‘fatbergs.’

Victor Manufacturing

Keeping hot food hot and cold food cold is what Victor is all about. The company has seen a big growth in bespoke counters over the last year. There’s also big demand for customised products – so much so that now most of the company’s models can be customised if required. The new website reflects this – for example, the customer can check out lots of colour options for counters.   Victor is about to launch its latest Evolution display units and, following feedback from customers, it will develop even more compact versions of the new products.  


By offering the biggest range of coldrooms in the UK, Williams can meet any price range and specification. The SmartStore range offers the most competitive pricing and off-the-shelf availability. The Contract Coldroom range has many more options and sizes, while Williams’ Premium bespoke coldrooms offer “incredible flexibility” and a huge choice of options. The Value Coldroom range is new, and sits between the SmartStore and Contract ranges. Front of house is another growth area, and Williams offers a wide range of merchandisers, as well as specialist products such as wine towers and chocolate display cabinets.

Forum feedback

Lauren Hunter of Brakes: “There’s such a wide range of products here, it’s really interesting – it’s been a great day.”

Reece Jones of Aggora Group: “It’s great to see equipment you’ve not seen before. The day is definitely worth it, 100%. It will help me a lot.”  

Jon Walker, BGL Rieber: “It’s been really good, the two-way participation is great and we’ve had excellent feedback.”

Ben Austin, EuroCave: “Excellent – we’ll definitely do it again.”

Michael Connell, Mobile UK: “This is our first time at Forum, we were very pleased when we saw the delegate lists. We’ve had a very good reaction.”

Kandie Harrison, Precision: “Organisation is very smooth. We’re seeing some customers we don’t know, which is great, and some we do, which lets us remind them of the products they may have forgotten about!”

Paul Easterbrook, Robot-Coupe: “It’s our first time and it has exceeded our expectations, it’s been brilliant.  We’ve had some frank and interesting conversations that will definitely benefit us.”

Nick Garner, Williams: “It’s been very, very good today.”

The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 180 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit www.cesa.org.uk

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CESA Heavy Equipment Forum review 2016 – Oct-16

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The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) represents over 180 companies who supply commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes. Buying equipment and services from a CESA member gives you the security of working with people that will ensure you get professional advice and service.